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Milberger's Nursery and Landscaping
3920 North Loop 1604 E.
San Antonio, TX 78247

Open 9 to 6 Mon. through Sat.
and 10 to 5 on Sun.

Three exits east of 281, inside of 1604
Next to the Diamond Shamrock station
Please click map for more detailed map and driving directions.

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QUESTION: What is this purple caterpillar I found eating on my sunflowers?

ANSWER: The blue caterpillar-looking "worms" are actually sawfly larvae. Their color is usually greenish to pale white, not blue. The variation in color could be a result of something the insects ate, typically foliage. The 3/4-inch long insect larvae are of the same order as ants, bees and wasps. The order is Hymenoptera, the family is Cimbicidae, the genus Cimbex and the species is americana. The identification of this insect can be done by comparing the shape and counting the legs. The sawfly larvae have a pair of legs on every segment or about 11 pairs. Common caterpillars have eight legs or less. Also, the sawfly larvae doesn't have crochets (little hooks) which are used to hold onto plants. The larvae take six to eight weeks to mature and then form a pupa or cocoon stage, and don't typically reach the stage where they become sawflies, or wasp-like, until spring. Although not very common, their range extends from Arizona to New England.